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Condense the nonsense
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"Texas' Falcon Lake is best known for its sport fishing, but lately it's the armed Mexican pirates that have attracted quite a bit of attention.

In recent weeks, groups of men with assault rifles and high-powered machine guns have boarded leisure boats demanding drugs and cash, leading authorities to believe that drug cartels are operating on the popular bass-fishing lake on the Mexican border.

"It's gotten more brazen," Colonel Peter Flores, director of the law enforcement division for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, told Aol News Friday.

"We believe that these are some offshoots of gangs on that side that are going into different types of criminal activity aside from the smuggling and poaching that they do. A few of them have gone into sideline robbery and are diversifying," he said.

The lake has been the site of three armed robberies since April 30, and the Texas Department of Public Safety has issued a bulletin urging fishermen to remain in U.S. waters.

"The robbers are believed to be members of a drug trafficking organization," the warning read. The Texas agency added that fishermen "could be in danger if they cross into Mexican waters."

"It's piracy," Zapata County Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez told ABC. "It may not be on the high seas, but they are taking advantage of people on this lake by threatening and robbing them."

In the first incident, on April 30, five American fishermen were exploring the small town of Old Guerrero on the Mexican side of the lake when, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety, four "heavily tattooed" men who identified themselves as federal police but wore no uniforms boarded their boat and asked, "Where are the drugs?" No one was harmed, but the pirates got away with $200 in cash.

Tom Bendele, owner of a Falcon Lake tackle shop, said the men who had been robbed told him the pirates bore tattoos that may mark them as members of the Zeta cartel.

"They boarded the boat at gunpoint," Bendele told ABC. "They were all wearing black, and [my friends] told me one had Z's tattooed around his neck, [and] the others had Z's tattooed on their wrists."

On May 6, another American boat was attacked by armed men, who demanded cash from the fishermen at gunpoint. Two other reports of pirates on the lake are being investigated as well.

Texas sport fisherman Richard Drake said the pirates tried to attack him during a bass-fishing tournament. He described the frightening ordeal in an interview with San Antonio news station KENS5 on May 21.

"I saw 'em, and I saw they were machine guns. They were that close, they were 15 yards away from me," he said. "I was scared." Drake said the pirates chased him across the lake but eventually gave up as he neared the U.S. shore.

Texas authorities say they can do nothing to help boaters who cross the border to the Mexican side of the lake and find themselves in hot water.

"It is unsafe in Mexico. Don't go to Mexico," Game Warden Capt. Fernando Cervantes told KENS5. "We cannot cross over onto that side. If a boat goes across, that's it. We stop there at the line."


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